[ ik-spleyn ]
/ ɪkˈspleɪn /
verb (used with object)
to make plain or clear; render understandable or intelligible: to explain an obscure point.
to make known in detail: to explain how to do something.
to assign a meaning to; interpret: How can you explain such a silly remark?
to make clear the cause or reason of; account for: I cannot explain his strange behavior.
verb (used without object)
to give an explanation.
- to diminish or nullify the significance of by explanation: He couldn't explain away his absence from home at the time the robbery was committed.
- to dispel (doubts, difficulties, etc.) by explanation: She explained away the child's fears.
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Origin of explain
synonym study for explain
1. Explain, elucidate, expound, interpret imply making the meaning of something clear or understandable. To explain is to make plain, clear, or intelligible something that is not known or understood: to explain a theory or a problem. To elucidate is to throw light on what before was dark and obscure, usually by illustration and commentary and sometimes by elaborate explanation: They asked him to elucidate his statement. To expound is to give a methodical, detailed, scholarly explanation of something, usually Scriptures, doctrines, or philosophy: to expound the doctrine of free will. To interpret is to give the meaning of something by paraphrase, by translation, or by an explanation based on personal opinion: to interpret a poem or a symbol.
OTHER WORDS FROM explain
ex·plain·a·ble, adjectiveex·plain·er, ex·pla·na·tor [ek-spluh-ney-ter], /ˈɛk spləˌneɪ tər/, nounmis·ex·plained, adjectivenon·ex·plain·a·ble, adjective
o·ver·ex·plain, verbpre·ex·plain, verbre·ex·plain, verb (used with object)un·ex·plain·a·ble, adjectiveun·ex·plain·a·bly, adverbun·ex·plained, adjectiveun·ex·plain·ing, adjectivewell-ex·plained, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
Example sentences from the Web for explain
Some of the dialogue is painful, and characters have a tendency to over-explain themselves.
My country was neutral then; it was never necessary to over-explain to him; he knew that I understood the difficulties in the way.Ten Years Near the German Frontier|Maurice Francis Egan
British Dictionary definitions for explain
/ (ɪkˈspleɪn) /
(when tr, may take a clause as object) to make (something) comprehensible, esp by giving a clear and detailed account of the relevant structure, operation, surrounding circumstances, etc
(tr) to justify or attempt to justify (oneself) by giving reasons for one's actions or words
Derived forms of explainexplainable, adjectiveexplainer, noun
Word Origin for explain
C15: from Latin explānāre to flatten, from plānus level
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012